Los Arcos, Autonomous Region of Navarre, Spain at 8:24am CEST.See the trip: España: Camino Francés
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Los Arcos (Navarra) at 8:10pm CEST in Los Arcos, Autonomous Region of Navarre, Spain.See the trip: España: Camino Francés
Los Arcos (Navarra) from 6:44pm to 7:53pm CEST (1 hr, 9 mins) in Los Arcos, Autonomous Region of Navarre, Spain.See the trip: España: Camino Francés
Los Arcos (Navarra) at 6:02pm CEST in Los Arcos, Autonomous Region of Navarre, Spain.See the trip: España: Camino Francés
The city tour I signed up for left the Buenaventura Hotel around 9:30 in the morning. I had mistakenly assumed we would begin the tour almost right away, but that was not the case.
Almost immediately we left the downtown area heading toward Nuevo Vallarta. After circling around and through almost 5 resorts, picking up various groups on what was becoming a very crowded smaller bus, I began to wonder how comfortable the day was going to be.
Last stop was near the Marina, where we got off the small bus and had some time to ourselves before we boarded the 'real' tour bus, a greyhound-sized version, complete with air conditioning. It didn't take long to nearly fill the bus, and soon we were on our way back downtown to begin the tour on the Malecon.
After gathering at the Puerto Vallarta town square next to city hall, we wandered up the block and visited Our Lady of Guadalupe church. Where are the pictures you might wonder? As is often the case on these tours, there are so many people vying for so few clear shots of landmarks like this that I decided almost immediately to return later and try to get some unobstructed pictures. Stay tuned!
Leaving the church we walked to a very nice Silver jeweller and were plied with Tequila while we browsed the wares. Now, I'm not normally much of a Tequila fan, rum is my poison of choice, so when they topped up our Tequila glasses with Squirt (a Fresca-like drink) I thought for sure that the day was going straight downhill.
Surprisingly refreshing and almost completely masking the Tequila taste, I was both surprised and somewhat awed. I smiled to myself once again at Mexican ingenuity. Somehow they've manage to take the least likely compatible beverages on the planet and blend them into a palatable drink. As it turned out, this was not the only Tequila I would be sampling that day.
Highway 200 south of Puerto Vallarta runs along the coastline. There are stunning views of the ocean and numerous places where I wished the bus would have stopped long enough for us to take some pictures.
They eventually allowed us a 5 minute stop at a small market alongside the highway where we could take some photos of the Los Arcos rock formations, not far from where the Night of the Iguana was filmed back in 1964. The openings in these rocks are large enough for smaller boats to drive through, though I suspect the tides would make it difficult to maneuver safely through to the opposite side.
Back on the bus and off to Baston del Rey Tequila, Mismaloya. The tour began almost immediately, and as there was another tour bus visiting at the same time, the representatives for Baston del Rey began raising their voices and quickly racing through their spiels in an effort to hold our collective attentions. It felt like a bizarre cross between an Evelyn Wood Speed Reading course and an auction house.
All Tequila at Baston del Rey is created using blue Agave cores, not the leaves. The cores are baked in the stone pit shown, then they're removed and the juices are extracted using a burro-driven stone wheel. Once the juices have been extracted, the are twice distilled and then aged for varying lengths of time, which tends to take 'the burn' out of the Tequila.
After 8 (yes 8) sample shots of Tequila, we were pretty much ready to purchase whatever inventory was on hand. For someone who doesn't normally drink Tequila, I'm uncertain why I'm owner of a near $60 bottle of Tequila... but as the saying goes, it seemed like the thing to do at the time...
After our tour, we were taken to a very nice restaurant for lunch where thankfully I was able to order a rum and coke. The butterfly shrimp were fantastic and the shade of the trees along the river was welcoming as the day had begun to heat up.
Less than an hour later we were back on the cobblestone road leaving Mismaloya. As with the San Sebastion tour, I slept almost all the way back to Puerto Vallarta.
Hotel Monaco at 6:27am CEST in Los Arcos, Autonomous Region of Navarre, Spain.See the trip: Tag 4: Los Arcos - Logroño
Los Arcos (Navarra) from 1:22pm to 1:51pm CEST (28 mins) in Los Arcos, Autonomous Region of Navarre, Spain.See the trip: Tag 3: Estella - Los Arcos